Week 8 of the fantasy football season is finally here, and the Rotoworld crew has everything you need to leave the weekend with a win. Patrick Daugherty answers your lineup questions with his Week 8 Rankings, Nick Mensio tells you who to start and who to fade in Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em, Ian Hartitz dives into which receivers are destined for production in his WR/CB Matchups Analysis and Hayden Winks breaks down every matchup in his Fantasy Forecast Column.
I'm also here to shed some light on the most important injury situations facing fantasy owners heading into the weekend. The sister resource to this column is the Rotoworld News Page, which will have every single inactive and all the late-breaking news up to kickoff and beyond. I'll also join Josh Norris and a rotating member of the crew every Sunday morning at noon ET on the Rotoworld Fantasy Football Show to answer all of your pressing start/sit decisions.
Editor's Note: Drafting is only half the battle. Dominate all season long with our Season Pass! Use our NEW Start/Sit Tool, Trade Analyzer, Consensus Rankings, Projections and more on your way to a championship! Click here for more!
Cardinals @ Saints
* David Johnson (ankle) is once again a game-time call after failing to practice this week. Even if DJ plays, another “start” and three-snap outing is entirely in the cards, making backup Chase Edmonds an involved RB2 no matter the former’s game day status. Edmonds would become an opportunity-driven Top 20 play if Johnson’s scratched (despite squaring off against New Orleans’ No. 9 rush defense DVOA) since the second-year pro would be in line for reps similar to last week when he logged a position-high 94 percent of Arizona’s snaps. Cardinals beat Josh Weinfuss reported Chase Edmonds is expected to maintain a “significant role” even if Johnson’s active the rest of the year, anyhow. Christian Kirk (ankle, questionable) was also limited throughout the week, but instantly garner’s WR3 recognition if available.
* Drew Brees (thumb, questionable) will reportedly start, keeping Michael Thomas’ floor afloat even if Patrick Peterson shadows him across the field. Being absent with a hand injury (and nothing that would limit him) in his first game back since Week 2, Brees is an immediate QB1 in 12-team leagues. New Orleans’ decision to start the veteran only one week prior to their bye is also a subtle hint that Alvin Kamara (ankle/knee, questionable) should be back, too. Latavius Murray would slide from an every-touch RB1 to an involved RB3 behind Kamara if both are active. Josh Hill isn’t the worst streamer in place of Jared Cook (ankle, out) against Arizona’s leaky tight end coverage, but Ted Ginn stands to benefit the most after being invisible on 6.6 yards per target from Teddy Bridgewater. Ginn accrued 89 air yards and struck 7/101 in his only outing with Brees this year.
Seahawks @ Falcons
* Atlanta elevated QB Danny Etling from their practice squad Saturday afternoon with Matt Ryan (ankle) ruled out. Even with Mohamed Sanu’s vacated 14.4 percent target share up for grabs, the Falcons’ ancillary weapons take a massive hit with 38-year-old Matt Schaub under center. It’s obviously concerning for Seattle’s passing offense too since the Seahawks showed no issues in handcuffing Russell Wilson for 28 attempts while Chris Carson ran wild during the last big lead the team mounted over the Cardinals in Week 4.
Eagles @ Bills
* Eagles will once again be without field stretcher DeSean Jackson (abdomen, out).
* No. 2 receiver Duke Williams (shoulder) is a true question mark, potentially paving the way for Robert Foster to join John Brown and Cole Beasley in three-wide sets. Friendly reminder Foster closed ‘18 as fantasy’s WR18 with 22/406/3 from Josh Allen in Buffalo’s last six games.
Chargers @ Bears
* Keenan Allen (hamstring, questionable) tweaked his hamstring in practice mid-week and is considered a game-time decision. Los Angeles’ target tree would simply become more concentrated in favor of Hunter Henry, Austin Ekeler and Mike Williams if Allen’s out as opposed to handing opportunity to another wideout off the bench. Williams in particular should be coveted since he’s already averaged 9.7 targets in his last three contests with Allen on the field.
* Run-stuffing DT Bilal Nichols’ (knee, questionable) absence would be a boost for Melvin Gordon. Los Angeles’ trenches may be worse off, however, if DE Melvin Ingram (hamstring, questionable) can’t go. Reminder the Chargers are already short DTs Brandon Mebane (knee) and DT Justin Jones (shoulder) up the middle.
Giants @ Lions
* Sterling Shepard (concussion) returned to practice but remains out for at least one more week. Saquon Barkley was removed from New York’s injury report altogether after handling 100 percent of the Giants’ backfield touches on 86 percent of their offensive snaps in Week 7.
* Time will tell how many backs Detroit activates on game day after calling up Paul Perkins from their practice squad. Even so, rookie Ty Johnson’s the pick to click for Kerryon Johnson (knee, IR) after coming in for the latter in the first quarter and handling 10 carries (including 100 percent of the team’s goal line work) plus four targets on 49-of-76 snaps last week. Consider Ty an immediate RB2 against a Giants front-seven that most recently got burned to the ground by Chase Edmonds (27/126/3).
Raiders @ Texans
* Assuming Josh Jacobs (shoulder, probable) can go, he gets a sneaky upgrade in an Oakland offense slated to roll out their intended offensive line (Trent Brown included) for the first time all year. It’s a win for Tyrell Williams (foot, questionable) if he plays, too, considering Houston’s allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game (28.4) to opposing wideouts and could be without starting corners Johnathan Joseph (shoulder, questionable) and Bradley Roby (hamstring, questionable).
* Kenny Stills stepped in for Will Fuller (hamstring, out) last week and pulled down 4/105 on 94 percent of the Texans’ offensive snaps. Fully expected to continue that every-down role in the interim, Stills qualifies as a plug-and-play WR3 as early as Sunday.
Jets @ Jaguars
* Chris Herndon (hamstring, doubtful) was downgraded on Friday and is no longer expected to suit up. Feel free to drop him since this soft tissue injury could clearly linger beyond Week 8.
* Dede Westbrook (shoulder, probable) was upgraded following a week of limited participation. He’s quietly led Jacksonville with a 27 percent target share in their last three games but has yet to transform those looks into a score during that stretch — a potential positive regression sign for Sunday.
Bengals @ Rams
* The Bengals will be down starting corners Dre Kirkpatrick (knee, out) and Darqueze Dennard (hamstring, out) all the while potentially missing both LT Cordy Glenn (concussion) and backup LT Andre Smith (knee, questionable). Even A.J. Green (ankle, out) couldn’t save this one if healthy.
* Malcolm Brown (ankle, out) didn’t make the trip to London, slotting Darrell Henderson behind Todd Gurley for at least one more week. Gurley saw 19 touches on a season-low 60 percent of Los Angeles’ snaps in his first game back from a quad injury, but Henderson still showed relevance on 12 touches and 34 percent of their snaps. Consider Gurley an RB1 whereas Henderson slides in as a season-long RB4/FLEX and DFS tourney punt.
Buccaneers @ Titans
* If anything, O.J. Howard's (hamstring, out) absence allows fantasy owners to breathe a sigh of relief in not having to go back to the well. Although Cameron Brate suddenly qualifies as a cheap streaming option, note his putrid box score results in the eight games he's played without Howard active.
* I personally rank the week's backup streaming options Jonnu Smith > Brate > Hill with Delanie Walker (ankle, out) shelved. Smith recently logged 86 percent of Tennessee's snaps against the Chargers, running a route on 56 percent of Tannehill's 32 dropbacks.
Broncos @ Colts
* Emmanuel Sanders' absence suddenly vacates 6.3 targets and 60.7 air yards per game. Early dark horse candidate to shore up that opportunity would be DaeSean Hamilton, who showed success in averaging 8.5 targets without Sanders over the final month of the season last year.
* Zach Pascal has flashed in limited usage of late but will remain a rotational guy with rookie Parris Campbell (hamstring) back in the mix. Feel free to fire up Eric Ebron with confidence if Jack Doyle (groin, questionable) is ruled out.
Panthers @ 49ers
* Stalwart LT Joe Staley (leg, doubtful) may give it a go, ultimately boosting both Tevin Coleman’s and Matt Breida’s outlooks. Emmanuel Sanders on the other hand projects to make his debut in the slot for a team that’s struggled in finding consistency at that position all year. Broncos OC Rich Scangarello coached under Kyle Shanahan in the two years prior to moving to Denver, presumably making Sanders a WR3 who shouldn’t require too much time to get up to speed out the gates.
Browns @ Patriots
* Per usual, Rex Burkhead (foot) was limited throughout the week and remains a game-time call. Having been ruled out only 24 hours prior to kick-off in each of his last three chances, it takes blind faith to hold him for any longer on the end of rosters. Josh Gordon’s (waived) surprising exit also entrenches Phillip Dorsett and Mohamed Sanu into three-wide sets with Julian Edelman (chest, probable). Obviously a different talent compared to Antonio Brown, Sanu’s workload is a true question mark in his first game action with Tom Brady (and New England’s Week 10 bye right around the corner).
Packers @ Chiefs
* Davante Adams (toe, doubtful) failed to take the field for practice this week but remains a game-time decision. Presumably out, his reps would continue trickling down to all of Allen Lazard, Jake Kumerow, Geronimo Allison and Marquez Valdes-Scantling — the latter duo who skipped Green Bay’s injury report altogether this week. MVS remains the safest pick of the litter but Lazard’s curious team-highs in snaps (51) and routes run (27) against the Raiders plant him on the radar as a feisty deep league FLEX option.
* Sammy Watkins (hamstring) is back but it may not mean much at all with Matt Moore under center for Patrick Mahomes (knee, out). Absentee slips for Frank Clark (neck, out) and Chris Jones (groin) also make for more bad news.
Dolphins @ Steelers
* Both Mason Rudolph (concussion) and Jaylen Samuels (knee, probable) are expected to be back in a fortuitous spot. If desperate for running backs, Samuels should be scooped off waiver wires Monday morning before kick-off to ensure he’s on your bench in the event he returns to being a Wildcat commodity (and thus a hot pickup). Benny Snell can be dropped.